Last Sunday was Palm Sunday and this coming Sunday we will celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on a day most call Easter.
Sandwiched between these two joyous occasions the Church recalls the Passion of our Lord which led to His crucifixion at the hands of the Romans through the insistence of the Jews.
Behind the various events of Passion Week—the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the arrest, trial and crucifixion—lies the fickleness of humanity.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem amid the shouts and adulation of the Jews. The “red carpet” of that time was the personal coats and cloaks of the populace, who spread them on the ground as the donkey upon which Jesus rode walked over them.
If Jesus smiled during this time, it was probably a sad smile, because He knew how His fortunes would change in a matter of hours. How quickly the people moved from hailing Him as their king to berating Him for treason.
Even His own disciples were caught up in this display of rapid emotional change.
Judas felt as if he had been lied to, because he thought that Jesus should have formed an army to crush the Roman occupation. So, Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jews for a little bit of money.
Peter, who had loudly and boldly proclaimed that he would NEVER deny Jesus, did that very thing not once, but three times in the space of one evening.
Once Jesus was taken captive, all the other disciples fled the scene except John, the beloved, who hid in the crowd.
How quickly love and adulation turned to loathing and abhorrence.
Are we any different?
With the terrorizing sound of marching soldiers’ feet, the visibility of spears and swords, and the clanking of body armor, how would you respond?
Would not fear and self-preservation cause you to do the same? Would you not also join the mob in shouting for His removal from society?
We don’t know. In a sane moment without the fear of punishment we, like Peter, boldly proclaim our loyalty. But when the chips are down, we do not truly know how we would react.
The Lord knows, and what He said to Peter He says to all—”I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luk 22:32)
Each of you reading this has been given the grace to strengthen and comfort those around you, whether of strong or weak faith.